Monday, June 17, 2024

Review: “Succession” Brings A Frightening Mind Game of Election “Fail Safe,” Sarah Snook’s Shiv Tries to Live Up to Her Name


Episode 8 of “Succession,” Season 4 is one you’d better pay close attention to, like turn off the phones and feed the dog.

It’s Election Night. Mencken, aka Trump, is running against Jimenez — a liberal Democrat — for president. Connor Roy is also running, but that’s a joke and not to be taken seriously. You can only feel sorry for Connor. At one point in the episode he declares, on TV, “I’m a billionaire,” as if it means something.

Back to the election: all three siblings have a stake in the results. Roman, who wants to end the deal with Mattson, thinks a Mencken win means he’ll have an ally. Shiv, as we know, has been working entre nous with Mattson to finalize the deal so she’ll get to be COO of the new company. Kendall wanted to stop the deal, he and Roman have no idea Shiv is a spy, but he’s terrified Mencken will destroy the country.

And then there’s Tom and Greg. Tom is lost in a flailing career and a deteriorating marriage. Greg, always considered a numbskull by his cousins, is starting to show signs of a unexpected horse on the outside of the track suddenly gaining speed.

Everyone in episode 8 is excellent, of course, but Sarah Snook wins by a nose. Shiv is living up to her name, in both directions. During an impromptu revelation about her concealed pregnancy, Snook does something with her face that wins her all awards this season. Her face collapses, rebounds, and collapses again in a moment that you will play over and over in your mind. It’s a pivotal moment lasting a nano second. But everything changes as we head into the last two chapters. Unreal.

The actual election and its results are played like the movie “Fail Safe.” Nailbiter? I actually felt like the world was going to end.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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